May 2017

 

Day By Day

May 1 – 31, 2017

Instead of trying to be the best in the world, be the best for the world.

What journalist doesn’t want to win a Pulitzer Prize?

It’s the greatest height a journalist can reach. Or so they say. In my field, they tell you that once you win the Pulitzer, the first line of your obituary is already written.

I’ve come close to winning twice. Editors have nominated my work for the coveted prize many times, I was actually chosen as a finalist twice.

The first time I was one of three finalists across the country for a Pulitzer Prize in commentary, I was giddy. I had written a series of 40 columns on inner-city violence. The judging is supposed to be a secret, but information often leaks out of who the three finalists are in each category. Two days before the winner was to be announced, I was sitting in a movie theater on a Saturday night when my editor called. I went out into the lobby to take the call. She told me I didn’t win. I was crushed.

When I went to work that Monday, friends and coworkers didn’t even try to console me. They were so excited and proud of me for being a finalist it didn’t seem at all like I’d lost anything. They were right. It should have been enough, but my ego wanted more. My husband threw me a party. My friends, family, and coworkers gathered to celebrate that I was one of the top three columnists in the country that year, but deep inside I was disappointed that I wasn’t Number One.

The second time, I was a finalist for columns I wrote that helped change the law in Ohio so prosecutors could no longer hide critical information from defense attorneys. For the category of commentary, you can submit up to ten columns, so we also sent columns I wrote about my daughter’s decision to have a preventive double mastectomy at age 29. She inherited from me the BRCA1 gene for breast cancer, and sharing her journey was excruciating. I wanted to win for her, and, of course, for my ego.

I couldn’t imagine losing this time.

But I did. This time, I found out in front of everyone in the newsroom as we gathered around to celebrate a victory as the Pulitzers were announced. Again, everyone said, “You didn’t lose. You were a finalist!” They served cake and punch and everyone offered kind words. But I have this strange ego: If I don’t win, I’ve failed. There’s no middle ground. It’s A or F. There are no other graders like B, C, or D.

The truth is, no prize can put that kind of ego to rest. Not even the Pulitzer Prize. My friend Bob, one of the greatest reporters in the business, won a Pulitzer Prize. It did nothing to silence his inner-doubt demons. Bob was always my personal monk in the newsroom. He often repeated to me a quote by Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who said: “I had to be number one in all things because in my perverse heart I felt myself the least of God’s creatures.”

Bob helped me realize that once you become unattached to the world and its applause and don’t depend on it for definition and affirmation, you’re finally free to serve the world. Instead of trying to be the best in the world, be the best for the world.

One of his favorite sayings is: “I’d rather stand in the dark than in a light of my own making.”

Can’t I just stand in the light of the Pulitzer, too?

Deep down, I wanted to be famous, important, complimented, noticed, needed, respected, nurtured, praised. Every time I got some of that, it wasn’t enough. Whenever I set a goal and reached it, I reached for another one that was out of reach. It was a chase for the horizon.

As much as I’d like to win a Pulitzer, the place that really means the most to me is under a refrigerator magnet. I’m honored that people cut out my columns and stick them on the fridge next to their son’s A in science and their daughter’s artwork. Readers open weathered wallets and unfold faded columns they’d tucked in there that touched them. A judge once called me into his chambers after a court hearing to show me the column of mine he kept under the glass on his desk. At one book signing, a woman brought a scrapbook of her little boy’s life. I’d never met her, but I had seen her son’s beautiful grin in a photo that ran on the obituary page when he died. I mentioned that smile and his name in a column and she never forgot. She asked me to sign that column she so carefully glued into her precious book about his brief life.

How humbling.

A quote from Isaiah 49 reminds me what truly matters: “I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord and my God shall be my strength.” That’s the glory I seek. When you are one with God, you don’t have to prove your worth. I now aim to write for the greater glory of God, not for the greater glory of Regina.

Ego is a tricky thing. Some see it as a bad thing and call it easing God out. A coworker once told me ego isn’t all bad if it motivates you to be of service. God might even find it useful. People with big egos can get a lot accomplished to help others. You can turn that famous Nike slogan into “Just Do It… for the glory of God.” The key is, What’s in it for God? I love Mother Teresa’s answer to the person who said he couldn’t do her job for a million dollars. She said she couldn’t either. She did it for Jesus.

The goal isn’t about being the best, but being the best for others. One reader never lets me forget the true worth of what I do. One year I was invited to a job fair for minorities at a prestigious law firm. I went and chatted with people there and wrote a column about some of the men and women looking for work.  It wasn’t a dazzling column. It wasn’t great. I’m not even sure it was good. It definitely wasn’t Pulitzer material. It was simply the best I could do with the material I had at the time.

It wasn’t awarding-winning, but it turned out to be life-changing.

In the column, I mentioned that Tony Morrison, a commercial photographer, appreciated a chance to get a foot in the corporate door by attending the job fair. As a black man, he found it hard to break into the old established white guys’ network, although he never used those words.

He expressed his gratitude for the job fair when I interviewed him, “You finally got past the receptionist,” he said. “If you can show your product, you have a chance. It’s like David against Goliath. By doing this they sort of leveled the playing field.

In a column of some 600 words, I used 50 to mention Tony.

Those 50 words changed his life. From that column on, he was hired all over town to take photos. Every year I see him at Cleveland’s Chamber of Commerce Public Officials Reception where hundreds of movers and shakers gather to network. Tony is the official photographer, taking shots of senators, mayors, and CEOs.

Every year he comes up to me, sticks out his hand, and thanks me for his career.

And I thank him for reminding me about what matters most about mine.

– taken from the book: “God is always hiring” by Regina Brett

13On that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ 19He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’ 25Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. 28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ 33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. –Luke 21:13-35

“Be Courageous and Humble”
– Chapel Theme S.Y. 2016-17

Take care and God bless.

Fr. Benjamin A. Jance III
Registrar and School Chaplain

 

Life Lesson

 

Calendar

Calendar

 

Saint of the Month

Matthias the Apostle
14 May

After the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot, the apostles brought their number back to twelve by choosing Matthias to replace him. He was chosen by lot from amongst the disciples. The author of the Acts of the Apostles sees apostleship differently from Paul’s interpretation of the rôle and seems to reflect the understanding of the gospel of Luke. The number had to be restored so that they might “sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel”. It was conditional that they had to have been with Jesus during his earthly ministry and witnesses to the resurrection. The point of being chosen by lot, rather than by some democratic method, indicated the election or choosing by God, rather than by mortals.

Collect

Almighty God,
who in the place of the traitor Judas
chose your faithful servant Matthias
to be of the number of the Twelve:
preserve your Church from false apostles
and, by the ministry of faithful pastors and teachers,
keep us steadfast in your truth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

Poems, Prayers and Drawings

Poem, Prayers & Drawings

Poem, Prayers & Drawings

 

Brent Cares / Service Learning

Brent School has, over the years kept a strong Service Learning arm as an important part of its holistic approach to the Brent Educational System. Students, teachers, staff and administrators participate actively in the after school activity by giving of their time and resources in reaching out to those in need. The whole school goes into full support mode when the need arises, especially during the typhoon season. The generous time and preparations that everyone gives to those in need are concrete expressions of the values that Brent stands for.

Brent’s Expected School-wide Learning Results touch on the need for self-development, and sincerely reaching out to our community certainly develops the minds and hearts of those in our school. Our current chapel theme of being responsible in all that we do at school and at work reinforces the service-learning element.

Helping another might be viewed as giving of your time and/or of sharing your talents and resources. It is, and more. They are in fact, a two-way street. The child and person who goes out of his/her way in return gets something that contributes to her/his own wellbeing. There is an inherent and almost a spontaneous ‘reward’ that comes from helping one another. Jesus speaks of such reality when He said: “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me…. truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40)

Indeed, the joy that one receives in giving far surpasses anything that anyone can ever wish for. “You never know when one kind act, or one word of encouragement, can change a life forever.”– Zig Ziglar.

We do what we can, wherever and whenever we can.
Brent Cares.

 

Holy Family Episcopal Church

Brent Chapel

Holy Family Episcopal Church is a parish of the Diocese of Central Philippines, one of the 7 dioceses that make up the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, an autonomous province in the world-wide Anglican Communion.  Our congregation came into being when in 2009 Brent International School, in accordance with the wishes of its founder, Bishop Charles Henry Brent that the school participate in the Church’s mission, opened Brent Memorial  Chapel services to members of the surrounding local communities seeking a regular place of worship, whatever their denomination. The response was quite enthusiastic, and we  were admitted as an Organized Mission at the Diocesan Convention in March 2010 and up-graded to Aided Parish   in March 2012,  Today we form a lively and enthusiastic congregation with an average Sunday attendance of around 60, a thriving Sunday School and a very active women’s group – and our acolytes are second to none!  Services are mostly in English though readings are frequently in Tagalog.  

Our present rector is Father Joe Mock, Academic Director at Brent School, who is assisted by   Deacons Mary Balitog and Jonathan Britt who handle the day-to-day affairs of the parish. Our bishop is  the Right Rev. Dixie Taclobao, Bishop of the Diocese of Central Philippines.

All regularly scheduled services at the chapel are open to both the Brent and the Holy Family communities.  Daily services are: Morning Prayer at 7:15 a.m.. Noonday Prayer at 11:30 a.m. and Evening Prayer at 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The  Holy Eucharist is celebrated every Friday at 12:30 p.m. and at 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays. On Sundays, there is Morning Prayer at 8:30 and a sung Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m.  All services are according the the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.

 

Organizations

Youth Ministry (Samahan ng mga Kabataang Episcopal)

Our Youth Group is one of the most vibrant elements in our parish life.  They form a local chapter of of the National SKEP of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, and are represented at the National and Diocesan meetings of that Organization.  Members of our youth group also participate in the life of our parish as

  • Sunday School Teachers (see below for Sunday School)  –  Our Sunday School and our VCS (Vacation Church School), under the supervision of Deacon Mary Balitog  is run and taught exclusively by the older youth.
  • Acolytes  –  Composed of young people, boys and girls,  between the ages of 8 and 19, the Holy Family acolytes assist at all parish Eucharists and are otherwise active in the life of the Church.  They are trained and supervised by Deacon Jonathan Britt  

ECW (Episcopal Church Women)  –  Early on, the women, the pillars of our church community,  organized themselves to form a chapter of the ECW and have since then been the heart of the community  . Beyond the traditional ‘women’s’ tasks, which they perform with gusto,  ( washing  and ironing  church linens and vestments, polishing utensils etc)) they are instrumental in organizing most parish social events and  run highly successful  fund raising activities. They meet every first Sunday of the month under the leadership of their elected officers.  

 

Programs

Sunday School

Sunday School

This program aims to provide spiritual nourishment to our youngest members  through  singing,  interactive reading and watching appropriate videos..  Average attendance is between 20 and 30 youngsters every Sunday.   Some Sunday School ‘alumni’  are now  trained Sunday School teacher themselves, while others serve as acolytes and readers.

Scholarship Program (for University Students)

This program,  initiated by Brent School’s  Project Compassion Club supports  a full time college student who is will graduate in April, 2017 and another who is now in her third year.  The program funds come from various Brent School clubs and private sources.

Education Assistance Loan Program (for University Students)

This program aims to support any student from a low-income family who is an active member of the parish and desires to pursue a College Degree.  Support is given in the form of interest free loans to be repaid once the student has graduated and gainfully employed.  The first student on this program will begin third-year studies this year.

Medical Emergency Fund

This program also aims to be able to provide cash for emergency purposes without any obligation from the recipient. This fund is taken from the fourth Sunday offering as well as private sources. Requests for help are evaluated by the vestry.

 

Outreach

Sunday School

Langkiwa

In 2015, the Pitong Gatang settlement from which most of our original members came was relocated in Langkiwa, a good 30 minute walk from Brent Chapel.  Some children still show up for Sunday School on Sunday mornings along with some adults. For those who can’t find the time,   Deacon Mary Balitog visits regularly with the Celebration of Word and Communion one Sunday a month.   

Timbao

Timbao, where some of our members reside, is  located at some distance from Brent School. For those who find it hard to get to us on Sundays,   Deacon Mary Balitog visits once a month to conduct a  Celebration of Word and Communion.

Cavinti (Our Lady of Walsingham Preaching Station)

In 2012 Deacon Jonathan Britt and his wife Grace opened a preaching station on their property in Cavinti, Laguna.  Before long a small but regular congregation was formed which meets twice a month.  Deacon Jonathan conducts a Celebration of Word and Communion first Sundays, and Fr. Joe Mock celebrates the Eucharist on the third.